Can we define our own set of standards and raise the bar on professionalism?
Most of the independent filmmakers, producers and directors I’ve met are delightful, professional people who are working hard and working well to make films with really limited resources. Like most people, I had a learning experience or two early in my career that helped me refine what I consider to be ethical behavior. But let’s face it, it is a stressful and imperfect line of work, and I am sure most us have cut corners or slipped up at some point.
But moving forward, how can we – as an unregulated collection of practitioners – work together to raise the bar on what we consider professional behavior? I touch on this in my book about micro short filmmaking, where I look at some of attributes of successful, collaborative, professional filmmakers. What I propose here is to toss down a few suggested codes of ethical behavior for us to react to, modify or add to going forward.
Rather than playing the role of an authority, I would prefer that we all ponder these ideas, adapt them to what we can individually work with, and try together to raise the bar on our own professionalism. Ideally, it would be great if everyone who comes into contact with an independent filmmaker leaves the experience feeling well and fairly treated, feeling that promises made to them were honored, and feeling that they would be happy to repeat the experience. We all know from experience what the opposite of that feels like. So here are a few ideas:
As independent filmmakers, producers and directors:
Robert David Duncan, award-winning director, actor, writer and producer with a passionate interest in art, storytelling and the whole amazing journey called life. Founder of Fat Punk Productions and Festival Director of the Miniature Film Festival.